Sugar Swap!

Sugar Swap

Come and explore the library to learn about healthier swaps!

Children are eating over twice as much sugar as they should. This is worrying because too much sugar can lead to serious conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as painful tooth decay. But do you know how much sugar there is in favourite drinks and snacks and the lower-sugar alternatives you could swap to next time you shop?

Visit libraries this half-term to find information from our Sugar Swap displays, join in events and activities and enjoy some free fruit for the children to help them enjoy a tasty low-sugar treat.

Free Fruit kindly provided by Ossett Market trader Richard Porter.

Visit Change4Life for more information


Castleford Library: Fun Science food event Friday 22, 11.30-12.30.  

Featherstone Library: Healthy Eating treasure hunt- on all week 

Hemsworth Library: Storytime Monday 18 ,9.30am, Thursday 21  Family healthy eating event, Storytime Friday 22, 10am 

Horbury Library: Storytime Thursday 21, 10.15am and Friday 22, 2.15pm  

Normanton Library : Juniper Foodwise Healthy eating event, Tuesday 19,10.00am, Very Hungry Caterpillar storytimes Fri 22 10.30am and 13.30pm 

Ossett Library: Storytimes Wednesday 20 10.30am and 2pm, Friday 22 10.30am 

Pontefract Library : Storytime Wednesday 20 10am 

Sandal Library: Healthy eating treasure hunt and plant your own veg (broad beans) in the library garden- on all week 

South Elmsall Library: Storytime Monday 18,  9.30am, Tuesday 19, 9.30am and Friday 22, 9.30am, Family healthy eating event Saturday 23, 10.30-11.30 

Stanley Library: Storytime Monday 18, 11.30am, healthy eating activity for older children Tuesday 19. 

Wakefield Library: Storytimes Tuesday 19, 1.30pm and Friday 22, 10.00am  

Please contact the libraries directly for further information. Storytimes are drop in events, other events make require booking. All events are free.



Yorkshire Battles: Battle of Wakefield, 1460

A great article by Leeds libraries on the battle of Wakefield and how library collections can help unlock history via Yorkshire Battles: Battle of Wakefield, 1460 

Reading Pictures: Seeing Stories

November 2018: Reading Pictures: Seeing Stories.

Yorkshire and the Humber libraries celebrating words and pictures.

Visit the website at for full details.

Events in Wakefield:

All dates are November, all events are free.

Code Club Animation. Wed 7 4.30 – 5.30 Pontefract Library. Ages 5-12, please book.

Comic Jam. Sat 3,10,17 and 24 10-12. Pontefract Library, ages 5-12.Drop in.

Comic Strip Storytelling 10.30 – 12.30 Ossett Library Sat 17, Wakefield Library Sat 24 Nov. Create your own comic strip with artist John Welding. For young people aged 12+ Please book.

Jackanory Pass the Story. Sat 10 Nov 1-2pm, Pontefract Library. Create a picture and bring it to life through a story. Age 5-12. Drop in

Lego animation. Sat 17 1-2.30 and Mon 26 4-5 Create your own stop-motion animation. Age 5-12. Please book.

Lego story club Sat 24 10-11 Normanton Library, 10.30-11.30 Hemsworth Library. Create your dreams in Lego. Drop in.

Magic Postman. Mon 26 1.30 Normanton Tues 27 10.00 Hemsworth, Tues 27 1.30 South Elmsall, Wed 28 10.30 Airedale. A magic adventure with puppets and music from Satellite Arts. Under fives, please book.

Mini Books. Sat 10 11-12.30 Castleford Library. Make your own cool mini books with artist Teresa Flavin Ages 7-11. Please book

Seeing is believing. Tues 13 9.30-10.15 South Elmsall, Wed 14 9.30-10 Airedale, Fri 23 10-10.30 Hemsworth. A special under-fives storytime bringing stories to life with simple props. Under fives, drop in.

Events for schools:

Launch event at the Hepworth Wed 7 with workshops led by Chris Mould, Kate Pankhurst and Teresa Flavin

Comic Art Masterclass at Pontefract Library with Kev Sutherland

Silent Stories. Children creating their own wordless stories, inspired by picture books without words. Castleford Library.

Reading Picture, Seeing Stories poster


A Sweet Wild Note

Our next Read Regional author event is at Horbury Library on Friday 25 May at 10.30am. We will be meeting Richard Smyth, a writer, researcher and editor who is a regular contributor to Bird Watching magazine, and reached the final of Mastermind with a specialist subject of British birds. He writes and reviews for The Times, Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review, New Statesman, BBC Wildlife, New Humanist, Illustration and New Scientist. He also writes novels and short fiction, and has written several books on English history.

A Sweet Wild Note is a cultural history of birdsong – a book not just about what the birds are saying when they sing, but about what we’re hearing when we listen to them. It ranges from the poetry of Keats to the history of finch-keeping; from the music of Beethoven to the technology that allows us to capture birdsong in vivid high fidelity; from asking why birds sing to thinking about why we love their songs.

Richard comes from Horbury originally and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to his home turf.

Please note that the date of this event has changed from the original date of 18 May printed in the Read Regional booklet.

Contact Horbury Library on 01924 303060 or to book a free place .

Women’s Prize for Fiction

The Longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced and it’s an exciting list with a mixture of well known and debut authors. I’m particularly looking forward to reading ‘The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock’ and ‘Three Things about Elsie’. Which titles are going on your reading list?

From the Guardian:

From murderers to mermaids, the “whole wealth of experience” features on the longlist for the 2018 Women’s prize for fiction, according to chair of judges Sarah Sands, giving the lie to “that stereotype of women’s fiction”.

The 16-strong longlist for the £30,000 award for “excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world”, was announced on Thursday. The award, previously known as the Baileys prize, places two major names, Pulitzer winner Jennifer Egan and Booker winner Arundhati Roy, up against six debuts. The latter include Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which won the Costa first novel award, and Imogen Hermes Gowar’s The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, a tale set in Georgian London in which a mermaid is captured.

Topics range from Nicola Barker’s H(a)ppy, set in the far future in an apparent utopia, to Meena Kandasamy’s portrait of a violent marriage, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife, and Sarah Schmidt’s reimagining of the Lizzie Borden murders, See What I Have Done

“What strikes me is the range and the boldness of it – the true diversity of subject as well as authors. You’ve got mermaids and murderesses, which has got to be good,” said chair of the judges Sands, editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “You feel women could deal with any subject; they can take on big themes. It doesn’t feel like a partial list, where you think you need the men to make up the world. The world is really well covered in this list.”

We  have more than half of the titles in stock already and if there is one you would like to read, place a request and we will buy it.  The full list is

(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


International Women’s Day

Thursday 8 March is International Women’s day

To celebrate, a number of activities will be taking place in Wakefield One from 10am – 3pm. This year marks 100 years since women were able to vote. Let’s celebrate the achievements of all the inspirational women that fought to make this happen.

Between 10am – 2pm the Electoral Services team is holding a voter registration event.

From 2 – 3pm people from Occupational Health will be promoting the Well Women Centre in Wakefield. They will be promoting the centre and offering advice and support around Women’s wellbeing – anyone can call in and have a chat.

There will also be:

  • Poets in Poll Booths – ask a poet to write and perform a poem especially for you
  • Display’s in the Museum about the first secret ballot held in Pontefract
  • From 10.10am – 11.50am there will be spoken word performances by the Forgotten Women of Wakefield
  • Rachel Reeves MP will deliver a talk in the library learning zone at 12.15pm about the life of Alice Bacon, the first female MP from Yorkshire
  • At 1pm – the unveiling of a blue plaque dedicated to Alice Bacon



What’s the Story?

Michael Yates is an established writer whose latest collection of fiction, 20 Stories High, is published this spring. The 20 stories are a mixed bag of the funny, sad and scary, with a cast list of heroes, villains… and ghosts! 20 Stories High will be launched at Henry Boons at 7pm on Thursday 22 February.

Michael will be working with us at Wakefield Library in March and April on a short story writing course ‘What’s the Story’ Over four sessions he will teach you how to write your own short story,  make your plots exciting and your characters come alive.

Monday 12 March, 2-4pm: What is a short story? How to build a plot. How to create character. Brainstorm a plot for your story. Write an exciting intro.

Monday 19 March, 2-4pm: Develop your plot. Find a setting for your story. How to win the reader’s attention. How to keep the reader’s attention.

Then a three-week break to write your story! You will be able to keep in touch with tutor Michael to ask his advice by e-mail!

Monday 9 April, 2-4pm: Hearing the stories (1). Writers read their stories. The class look at ways to improve them.

Monday 16 April, 2-4pm: Hearing the stories (2). Writers read their stories. The class look at ways to improve them.

The Learning Zone, Wakefield Library, Wakefield One, Burton Street

Wakefield, WF1 2DD

The course is free but please 01924 305376 or email to reserve a place



One of my spring highlights will be  Civilisations , an epic new series from the BBC spanning 31 countries on six continents, and covering more than 500 works of art. Presenters Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga will explore African, Asian and American as well as European cultures to explore how human creativity began and developed, how civilisations around the world influenced one another and how artists have depicted the human form and the natural world. Here are some reading ideas to enjoy as you watch. What would your suggestions be?


You can also visit Wakefield Library for Dancing with India, a performance and workshop exploring traditional Indian temple dance on Saturday 3 March 10-12. Free, no need to book.

On Monday 5 March you can enjoy Rainbow Serpent, an Australian creation story workshop, at South Elmsall Library 9.30-3.15. Free but booking is essential.

Castleford Library is hosting a talk on The Romans of Castleford, Tuesday 6 March. Free, no need to book. 2-3.15pm




Read Regional 2018

Read Regional is back for 2018,bringing 12 northern writers and their wonderful new books to libraries across the North of England. The free booklet will be available form libraries shortly with information about the books and interviews with the writers. You can also find out about this year’s writers here . 

Four writers are visiting libraries in the Wakefield district. We start on 13 March 11am with crime writer D.M Mark, talking about his first historical crime novel The Zealot’s Bones. It is set in Hull in 1849 during a terrible cholera outbreak and the author describes it as ‘ a story of redemption and revenge: bloody, grimy and raw’. Expect lots of bodies and giant rats!

A second crime event takes place on 26 April, 2pm  at Hemsworth Library. A.A. Dhand’s first novel Streets of Darkness was described as “A tense slice of neo-noir that has won Dhand comparisons to both BBC drama Luther and HBO’s The Wire ” (Observer) so we are thrilled he is coming to Hemsworth to talk about Girl Zero, a second outing for his Bradford based detective D.I. Harry Virdee.

May sees a change of mood with A Sweet, Wild Note by Richard Smyth. Richard will be visiting Horbury Library on 18 May, 10.30am. The book is a cultural history of bird song, its place in our literature, science and music, what it means to us and what it would mean not to hear it. Horbury is Richard’s home town and we are delighted to welcome him back.

The final event takes place at Castleford Library on 14 June, 2pm. Sarah Dunnakey will be talking about The Companion, a compelling mystery of buried secrets and unsolved murder set on the Yorkshire Moors and partly inspired by Gibson Mill near Hebden Bridge, a former cotton mill which became an entertainment centre in the early 1900s. Sarah lives in Hebden Bridge and as well as writing  works as a question researcher for TV shows like Mastermind, University Challenge and Pointless.

Rhubarb ramblings from the Nom Nom Nom cookery book reader group

Wakefield Libraries’ Nom Nom Nom Cookery book reader group has been meeting on the first Saturday of each month at 2pm since April 2014. Our meetings are a  bubbly combination of chat, reading and cookery skills sharing. At our most recent meeting on the 3rd February 2018 we turned our thoughts to the forthcoming Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb, which will be taking place 23-25 February 2018.

As huge fans and advocates of rhubarb-based cookery we felt we had to share our favourite recipes with each other and Wakefield Libraries blog readers. Rhubarb, now in season, is so much more versatile and delicious than it is often given credit for. Our top 10 rhubarb recipes include:

  1. Rhubarb Ginger Crunch from Mary Prior, Rhubarbaria, (Prospect Books, 2008)

A no-bake cheesecake with a crunchy ginger biscuit base and creamy filling.


Rhubarb Ginger Crunch

2. Custard yo-yos with Rhubarb Icing from  Yotam Ottolenghi, Sweet, (Ebury Press, 2017)

Delightful sandwich biscuits with a rhubarb-vanilla custard cream filling. Sometimes known as ‘melting moments’ or ‘custard kisses’.


Custard yoyos with roasted rhubarb icing

3.  Roasted Rhubarb with Ginger from Claire Bailey, The 8 week blood sugar diet recipe book ( Short Books, 2016)

A compote featuring rhubarb, coconut oil and ginger, could be eaten on its own, or as a topping with porridge, thick yogurt or ice cream

4. Rhubarb Curd from Sean Wilson, The Great Northern Cookbook ( Hodder, 2012)

Another versatile recipe, Nom Nom cooks particularly recommended this is used in place of lemon curd to make a light gluten-free dessert in Mary Berry’s Meringue roulade recipe

5. Joan’s Rhubarb and Oat Muffins Apple (or rhubarb) and Oat Muffins

Moist and with a pleasant tang of rhubarb, these muffins were a real treat. Joan modified an existing recipe she likes to use, substituting rhubarb instead of  apple


Rhubarb Crumble Muffins

6. Spiced Rhubarb sauce for Mackerel from Mary Prior, Rhubarbaria, (Prospect Books, 2008)

Proof, should it still be required, that rhubarb can also contribute to savoury dishes, this sauce with a hint of winter spice would go well with a range of oily fish and roast meat dishes.


Spiced Rhubarb Sauce for Mackerel

7. Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Cardamom and Orange  from Epicurious

A beautiful-looking traditional rhubarb plate-pie hiding a fragrant twist of cardamom and orange. Works well also with ginger and orange.


Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Cardamom and Orange


8. Rhubarb and Almond Cake by Nadiya Hussain for The Times

We wholeheartedly agree with Nadiya’s own description “A cake of sharp contrasts, thanks to a shot of rhubarb”

9.  Rhubarb Mule Cocktail  A favourite recipe from Jennifer Klinec

Jennifer came to speak to our group a couple of years ago after her return from Iran, where she had fallen in love with the food and a certain Iranian gentleman. Her recipe for a  Rhubarb Mule Cocktail  is bursting with the same joie de vivre as her book.

rhubarb mule

Rhubarb Mule cocktail

10. Virginia’s Rhubarb and ginger cheese cake 

made as dainty cupcake-size samples, this no-bake cheesecake was another simple way to incorporate the sharp tang of rhubarb into a delicious creamy treat.



Finally…Tusky – Yorkshire forced rhubarb pieces dipped raw into a bowl of sugar and eaten as a sweet treat

A traditional treat for children, candy-pink ‘tusky’ with a bowl of sugar to dip and eat raw is a sweet-sour taste explosion guaranteed to blow off your hat (and some tooth enamel).  Its a  love-it-or-hate-it experience to sort the true rhubarb connoisseur from the  mere aficionado! Dare you try?


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